The opening sequence of Ozark S3 sets the tone for all the remarkable events to come in what critics have called the show’s finest season:
A man wheels a package delivery through a Mexican mall, stopping in a department store to drop off a parcel. Within seconds, a clerk’s hand is knifed to a counter, his throat is cut, and blood splatters a wall of plastic-wrapped white dresses. The delivery man then makes his way to a back room where two cartel workers are counting their illicit gains. The assassin briefly keeps up his ruse before pulling a gun, zip-tying the two workers together, setting the timer on an explosive, and walking calmly out the back door just before the cartel’s front goes boom. A second time-bomb is activated and left in the middle of a crowd of shoppers scrounging for the cash floating down from the sky. The screen fades to black just as we hear the second explosion and the now iconic Ozark ‘O’ fills the screen.
When the title card fades, we then cut to a commercial for a riverboat casino… Marty and Wendy Byrde’s riverboat casino. It’s a perfectly rendered advertisement that would match any gambling establishment promo. It is also likely one of the most darkly funny juxtapositions you’ll ever see, as the mayhem of the previous scene leads to commerce and frivolity when Marty and Wendy look into the camera and shout, smiling, “We like your odds!”
In an Awards Daily TV exclusive, the good folks over at Netflix have shared with us a blow-by-blow breakdown of the season’s opening tableau, narrated by Ozark editor, Cindy Mollo. It’s a terrific primer on how setting, sound, music, and editing can seamlessly connect two different worlds.
This is “The Backdrop” with Cindy Mollo.